A quirky market town only six miles from Brighton and just over 30 minutes by car from London Gatwick, Lewes is a hub of Sussex heritage and huggermugger. Though there’s plenty here to satisfy culture-vultures all year round, many of Lewes’ visitors flock in November to experience the famed bonfire night festivities.
Surrounded by the chalk cliffs that are typical of this south east coastline, the town itself boasts a Norman Castle, a 15th century bookshop and myriad medieval cottages set amidst winding cobbled lanes. Whether you want a taste of Tudor lifestyle via Anne of Cleves’ home or insight into Sussex archaeology at Lewes Castle and Museum, this is the ideal place for history buffs.
Don’t forget to fuel up in one of the town’s traditional 17th or 18th century pubs, which offer an array of ale and grub. Should protestant martyrs, a good dose of treason or spectacular fireworks be your bag, you’ll want to stick around for The Lewes Bonfire Night. This is the world’s biggest celebrated 5th November event, which takes over the town with a riot of colour each year on or around the historical date.
If art and culture’s more your thing, in Lewes you’ll find galleries and antique shops aplenty as well as the charming Needlemakers and The Back Yard Cafe. Close by, there’s Glyndebourne, one of the world’s most eminent opera houses that’s famed for its spectacular summer Festival and autumn Tour. Charleston, home and hangout for the creative Bloomsbury group that included author Virginia Woolf among its members, is also just down the road in Firle.
For those seeking action and adventure, a trip to Plumpton Racecourse – one of the UK’s smallest National Hunt courses with sensational South Downs views – could be on the cards. Those with smaller people to amuse will want to spend a day at Drusillas Park. Located fewer than 10 miles from Lewes, the park offers an array of animal experiences, a splash pad that’s a welcome relief on hot days and the Hello Kitty Secret Garden.
Remember, remember, Love Cottages is only too happy to help you find a Lewes holiday cottage to suit.